TRAINING aerospace engineers will be the goal of two new courses at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The university announced on Monday it will teach how to design and build aerospace satellite and radar systems from next January. A pilot course for the satellite component was introduced in January this year, with 48 students.

Undergraduates from NUS engineering disciplines can apply for either the satellite or radar course from the second semester of their first year.

Each course will span up to seven semesters but does not lead to a separate degree. About 30 to 40 students in total will be accepted each year for both courses.

NUS engineering dean Chan Eng Soon said the new courses are timely as "the aerospace industry has been identified as an exciting and promising new growth area for Singapore".

Students in the satellite systems course will design and build a balloon-based system that carries sensors to transmit images and data to a ground station. They will also learn to simulate space missions, design orbits and analyse data from real space missions.

The aerospace synthetic aperture radar systems design course will arm students with knowledge of basic radar concepts. The courses' final projects will involve designing, building and testing satellite and airborne radar systems.

Professor Chua Kee Chaing, head of the NUS electrical and computer engineering department, said students may intern at relevant companies and institutes as part of the courses.

Former US astronaut James Newman said at Monday's event that developing the aerospace industry here would lead to high-quality jobs.